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December 2, 2016 / 2 Kislev, 5777
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B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue Leaders Congratulate Palestine on UN Vote

"The vote at the UN yesterday is a great moment for us as citizens of the world," said the email, signed by the B'nai Jeshurun's three rabbis, cantor, board president and executive director.

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B'nai Jeshurun Synagogue (with minor addition).

B'nai Jeshurun Synagogue (with minor addition).
Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

Remember the outpouring of Arab support when Israel declared its independence, back in 1948? No, you don’t, neither does anyone else. But we can certainly mark the unabashed joy of a New York City Upper West Side synagogue, after the UN hammered another nail in the simple pine box of the Zionist dream.

On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that the leaders of the “Congregation B’nai Jeshurun, a large synagogue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, known for its charismatic rabbis, its energetic and highly musical worship, and its liberal stances on social causes,” had sent out an email last Friday to congregants, praising the UN vote that elevated the Palestinians to non-member state status.

“The vote at the UN yesterday is a great moment for us as citizens of the world,” said the email, signed by the B’nai Jeshurun’s three rabbis, cantor, board president and executive director. “This is an opportunity to celebrate the process that allows a nation to come forward and ask for recognition. Having gained independence ourselves in this way, we are especially conscious of this.”

Well, this begs for at least a minor correction: “we” did not gain independence in this way. Yes, the UN took a vote and approved a plan to divide the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea into areas that were populated by a majority of Jews and a majority of Arabs (Arab portion was bigger). But that vote didn’t get us our independence. The blood of 6 thousand Jews, fighting off invading Arab armies as well as local Arab terror gangs – that got us our independence.

Allan Ripp, a member, said he and his wife were appalled, the Times reported.

“We are just sort of in a state of shock,” Ripp said. “It’s not as if we don’t support a two-state solution, but to say with such a warm embrace — it is like a high-five to the P.L.O., and that has left us numb.”

But another congregant, Gil Kulick, told the Times he was “really delighted that they chose to take a strong unequivocal stand.”

The synagogue leaders wrote:

“As Jews deeply committed to the security and democracy of Israel, and in light of the violence this past month in Gaza and Israel, we hope that November 29, 2012 will mark the moment that brought about a needed sense of dignity and purpose to the Palestinian people, led to a cessation of violence and hastened the two state solution.”

“It’s very shocking to many of the congregants that this position was taken publicly and this e-mail was sent around,” Eve Birnbaum, a member of the congregation for about 15 years, told the Times, adding: “I am very dismayed, as a longstanding member of the synagogue, that the rabbis and the board would take a position that is contrary to what many members believe, contrary to the peace process.”


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Correction: The letter was signed by the board president, not the entire board as the article originally stated.

Yori Yanover

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Who needs enemies when we have friends like these.

  2. Liad Bar-el says:

    Here is an example of what happens when you live for generations in exile: delusions of grandeur.

  3. Yori Yanover says:

    I'm starting to wonder whether we have two distinct nationa now, one which cares and is involved with Israel, and one which worries mostly about what their gentile neighbors would say about them. Our paths are diverging fast.

  4. Liad Bar-el says:

    Tell the truth, Yori, did you put that PA flag in the picture or was it really in the original photo? 🙂

  5. Liad Bar-el says:

    Ahhhhh. I now see that the flag was added for I don't see any leaves blowing and there's no foundation for the flag stand. Anyway, this picture says a thousand words. Good job.

  6. Yori Yanover says:

    It's sticking out of the turret — the foundation is inside the synagogue. How pithy.

  7. Liad Bar-el says:

    Yori Yanover Prior Proper Photo Paint Planning Promotes Profound Pithy Pictures.

  8. Who ever said that that delusion in two – thirds insanity. Well – to be honest insanity has never had a greater friend than the claimed "bnei Jeshurun!" How in appropriate a name for a congregation that is anything but peace – loving, Jew – hatin, – and not to the exclusion of their own self hatred as possible Jews. Take no notice of this community, they're as delusionary as are the West and the Arabs, to the inclusion of those living on Israeli soil in Gaza.

  9. Brian Kent says:

    Complete animals!

  10. Brian Kent says:

    Yori Yanover The Jewish Daily Foreword is truly the most evil anti-Israel publication on the scene.I believe it is funded by Nazi SS collaborator George Soros .It is affiliated with Soros financed J Street and it publishes his thoughts basically .Good piece but rotten news .

  11. Amy Moses says:

    This is a totally photoshopped photo. It's disgusting that this paper would publish it. I am a member of BJ and live near the synagogue and this is TOTALLY FAKE. Shame on Jewish Press!

  12. And they would never imagine that they have so much in common with Neturei Karta!

  13. Benjamin Rau says:

    This is equatable to thanking and praising your own executioner preemptively for killing you….

  14. Charlie Hall says:

    What does the Forward have to do with this?

  15. Charlie Hall says:

    BJ is the oldest Ashkenazic congregration in New York, and one of the oldest in America.

  16. Hamas Charter : "Israel will rise and remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it has eliminated its predecessors." "The time will not come until the Muslims will fight the Jews: until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry:" O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him." (Article 7)…

    Ignorance is bliss, but their Stupidity is lethal.

  17. How would this gesture be repaid by the recipients?

    Maybe a thank you first, then they would slit the throats of every man, woman and child at Bnai Jeshurun.

  18. Dawn Yonah says:

    Who are these so-called Jews? They obviously have no clue who the G-d of Israel is and what He thinks. They are guilty of idol worship… the idol of "ultra-liberalism." They are an embarrassment.

  19. That's why 2,000 years ago our rabbis added the following still-valid passage to The 18 Benedictions: "May there be no hope for traitors."

  20. Gil Gilman says:

    Yori, it goes beyond worries about gentile neighbors, and into "see, we can be just as ignorant as the rest, When we put our little grey cells to work.

  21. Outrageous! And complete betrayl! A total disgrace to our people! These people will shake your hand and with the other stabb you in the back! Faithful are the wounds of a friend but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful! Am Yisrael Torah Chai.

  22. I believe the call that Ezra gave to the Jews in captivity challenging them to return to Jerusalem (Ezra 1v1-11) and rebuild. Today all Jews worldwide need to take up that call and return home. The G-d of Israel will go with you.

  23. Tim Upham says:

    We are not the enemies, if we support the two-state solution. I have endlessly had Jewish extremists call me a Nazi, a Muslim, and tell me every morning I kiss the picture of Hitler. The only thing I want is Israel to be able to live with its neighbors, who happen to be Muslims. Jews can live with Gentiles, because 55% of them within the United States are married to them. I am the product of a mixed marriage, and my parents were married in Hungary.

  24. Jay Saadian says:

    I just hope those members of this synagogue, who disagree w/ their rabbis and are appalled by their actions, would cancel their membership in protest. Let’s see how many would have the courage and the conviction to do that. Please report here so that the rest of us would know.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Reform degenerated into school of future capos.

  26. As usual, the "enlightened" establishment Jews who are in fact secularists, are our own worst enemy. And may receive their just reward but not take the rest of us with them. Jerome S Kaufman.

  27. Alex Shapiro says:

    Hitler was twice nomitated for the Nobel Peace Prize…by Jews. I wonder if they where the ancestors of those who signed on this letter…

  28. Shame on those Jews with short memory. Abbas violated the 1993 Oslo Accord and gets applause. Israel gave away the Sinai and Gaza, and got 800 rockets fired on them and bad press.

  29. Rabbis of Bnei Yeshurun Synagogue, you are Rabbits not Rabbis.instead of keeping your cowardice ideas in a closet

  30. You dare to speak them openly misrepresenting the whole nation? You are bigger enemies of Israel, of Jews than Palestinians.we are ashamed of you and your action

  31. Charlie Hall says:

    Not the first time that a rabbi from B'nai Jeshurun was on the wrong side:


    Note: At that time B'nai Jeshurun was still Orthodox; as an Orthodox Jew myself I'm ashamed to admit that Rabbi Raphall was an Orthodox Rabbi. He even had a Ph.D.

  32. Jacob Alperin-Sheriff says:

    Uh, dude (Shmuel dude) it's also not the Civil War anymore, even though my state still wants to secede

  33. Anastasia Klein says:

    kapos. shameful. I hope the congregants cancel memberships quickly.

  34. Mark Leaman says:

    Will they celebrate when Israel does not exist because the Palestinians kept their promise to destroy Israel G-d forbid.

  35. Raina Steinman says:

    friggin disgusting…… they need to be shipped to philistine with the barbarians…….

  36. Enemies – not; but quite silly and naive. From 1948 (and before..) the neighbors of the State of Israel have never expressed a desire to live in peace with the Jews. In fact they made very explicit statements of their desire to kill the Jews – by going to war in 48, 56, 67, 73, etc… I am not counting their unrelenting terror. I would suggest that the neighbors of the State of Israel learn how to live in peace among themselves first and foremost. And than the time for peace might indeed come. As Rav Kahane, Z"L once said: I hope that the nations of the world one day will beat their swords into the plowshares – but while our enemies have swords – we don't want to have plowshares in our hands.

  37. Ltc Howard says:

    Demand the PA
    1 Explicitly recognize Israel as Jewish state
    2. Explicitly renounce the absolute & nonnegotiable demand for “right of return of all refugees & their descendants {self identified} to the pre-67 boundaries of “Palestine”)Urge that Palestinians living in the camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, etc. be offered citizenship in their resident countries Also offer them the option of citizenship in a West Bank Palestinian state. ( PA position is that “refugees” in the camps, even on the West Bank will not be offered citizenship in a new Palestinian state)
    3. Abandon the demand that West Bank, East Jerusalem, and any other Palestinian territory be jew-free

  38. Paul Burlant says:

    Jews have no need for outside anti-Semites we have our own self hating Jews.

  39. B'nai Jeshurun is nothing but a bunch of idiots.

  40. B'nai Jeshurun is nothing but a bunch of idiots.

  41. Tim Upham says:

    In the last military operation in Gaza 20 Palestinians were killed for every one 1 Israeli. It does not sound like every single Palestinian has a sword in their hand. A great deal of them have plowshares in them. That is the reason why for Hanukkah, I am using olive oil produced by them, to do my deep frying cooking. Because after all, we are the Children of Abraham. Would you like it if you had two children fight all of the time? I know HaShem does not like it. Allah does not command them to kill Jews either.

  42. One word: *ANIMALS*!

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